The town owes its existence to the Bolivian trade from La Paz and Oruro, and is the residence of a number of foreign merchants.
Tobacco of a fair quality is produced in the warm regions of the east, including the yungas valleys of La Paz and Cochabamba; cacao of a superior grade is grown in the department of Beni, where large orchards were planted at the missions, and also in the warm Andean valleys of La Paz and Cochabamba; and coffee of the best flavour is grown in some of the warmer districts of the eastern Andes.
In 1903, after the census had been taken, the population of the town was more than doubled by the addition of the municipalities of La Paz (pop. 5724), Mandurriao (pop. 4482), Molo (pop. 8551) and Jaro (pop. 10,681); in 1908 Jaro again became a separate town.
Long) from Guaqui to Alto de La Paz - a total of only 430 m.
In June 1823 the expedition of General Santa Cruz, prepared with great zeal and activity at Lima, marched in two divisions upon Upper Peru, and in the following months of July and August the whole country between La Paz and Oruro was occupied by his forces; but later, the indecision and want of judgment displayed by Santa Cruz allowed a retreat to be made before a smaller royalist army, and a severe storm converted their retreat into a precipitate flight, only a remnant of the expedition again reaching Lima.
In 1853 a filibustering expedition against Sonora under William Walker took possession of La Paz and proclaimed a republic consisting of Sonora and the peninsula.
The coast has two or three good sheltered bays, that of La Paz on the Gulf side and of Magdalena on the Pacific side being best known.
It is a great lacustrine basin where once existed an inland sea having an outlet to the east through the La Paz gorge.